Thursday, August 21, 2014

Better Than Rainbow Loom

Preface: I want to insert here that I have received some very sweet heartfelt Rainbow Loom gifts from children I care deeply about. I even wore and kept them until the plastic disintegrated. My opinion about the product does not in any way change my gratitude for those sweet gifts.

But... I have to say I am glad to see this report.
“The latest craze for loom bands has highlighted once again that an apparently harmless product may have long-term detrimental effects to health,” the Assay Office said.
“The latest loom bands craze in particular is throwing up some alarming results considering these products are so child appealing,” the spokesman said.

“Phthalates can migrate from plastic into the body if they come into contact with saliva or sweat. Phthalates are suspected carcinogens and are known to disturb the endocrine system in both humans and animals.”

The endocrine system releases hormones into the body. Studies have also linked the chemicals – found in thousands of plastic products – to problems with sexual development, reduced fertility levels and undescended testes.
“These products should be being withdrawn from the market, and both governments and retailers need to act now.”

Of course, this information is regarding only some brands of loom bands, how do we differentiate at the store? Anyway I'm seriously glad that people are considering health issues, because hopefully that will curb the trend. Although I can't stand the toxic smell of the bracelets, my own reasons for rejecting the bands in my home are different:

Plastic: WHY?! In a world increasingly aware of plastic pollution, where our oceans, sand, fresh water and air are now loaded with plastic particles of all sizes from large to microscopic, WHY are we creating a massive craze involving little tiny losable plastic bands by the billions?? I refuse to buy them, and yet my home is full of them. I am constantly picking them up off the floor, less because I'm offended by the mess than because our cat has already had (in her earlier years) two major surgeries to remove plastic bands and floss she had ingested. This isn't unique. Wild animals are frequently found dead, their stomachs loaded with plastic debris. Plastic is just not something we need to be littering the earth with anymore.

People bring cloth bags to craft stores to buy... plastic elastic bands! We can be smarter than this. We can be better than Rainbow Loom!

So here's the good news: 
Why not create bracelets from hemp twine and wood or glass beads? Not only can it be just as colourful, but it's much more comfortable to wear, lasts longer, and has little environmental or health impact.

Or embroidery floss/hemp friendship bracelets:

If you like following instructions, here's another beautiful one:

...and once you've learned a few general guidelines from tutorials (or from friends!!), get inventive! As a teen I used to make 2-inch-wide friendship 'cuffs' with all kinds of cool patterns and sometimes embellishments. Making bracelets is wonderful fun, as well as a sweet social activity for all genders. I very much encourage this kind of behaviour. ;-)


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